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Russia 'Ready To Contact' Opposition Free Syrian Army

Russia says it is "ready to establish contacts" with Syria's main Western-backed moderate opposition group, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), to find a political solution to the war.

The Foreign Ministry said on October 7 that Moscow wanted to include the FSA in preparation for "a political settlement of the Syrian crisis through negotiations between the Syrian government and the patriotic opposition."

Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Moscow was also ready to help Syria's troops join forces with the FSA to defeat the Islamic State group and "other terrorist groups" in coordination with the Russian Air Force.

The FSA is fighting against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, which is backed by Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier said his French counterpart, Francois Hollande, voiced the idea of uniting forces loyal to Assad and the FSA to take on IS militants.

However, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius made clear that as long as Assad remains in power, "no cooperation is possible with the Syrian Army."

Based on reporting by AFP, Interfax, TASS, and Reuters